SF seeks state funding to defend immigrants facing deportation

San Francisco is seeking $7 million in state funding to represent undocumented immigrants facing deportation in Northern California under a plan Mayor Mark Farrell announced Thursday.

Farrell and Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, will seek the funding to provide legal counsel to those in immigration court who typically face deportation proceedings without representation.

The funding request comes on the heels of a massive Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation this week that had yielded 232 arrests in Northern California as of Thursday evening. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf had warned the public of the coming operation over the weekend.

“It is unbelievable what is happening here in San Francisco and I think we have not only the right but the moral obligation to stand up,” Farrell said at an afternoon news conference.

Farrell also announced his support for a $3.5 million proposal from supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Hillary Ronen, which would provide additional funding in the current fiscal year for legal defense services for immigra nts through the Public Defender’s Office and various nonprofits.

“It is not enough to just say that we stand for a sanctuary city and our immigrant communities, we need to put money behind it and we have this opportunity now to provide a lifetime for these communities,” Fewer said at the news conference.

The proposal would provide $1 million to the Public Defender’s Office to hire attorneys and investigators and $2.5 million toward the San Francisco Immigration Legal Defense Collaborative and the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network.

The proposal would mean that San Francisco spends $11.1 million on legal defense services for immigrants a year.

The city funding will be voted on at the Board of Supervisors March 13.

Examiner Staff
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